Not only can the application of electric motors drastically reduce fuel consumption, but the instant torque delivery can make for an even faster (and therefore more fun) vehicle, and I’m not just talking about supercars. The Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE borrows Le Mans racing technology to build what is perhaps the hottest hybrid hatchback ever.
It’s a shame it has taken automakers nearly a century to realize the potential for performance in hybrid drivetrains. The Peugeot 208 is generally a small urban commuter on par with the MINI Cooper, powered by engines ranging from a three-cylinder 1.0-liter to a 1.6 liter diesel four-banger. Peugeot’s racing engineers focused on making the 208 lighter and faster, starting with a bored-out 1.0 liter engine to 1.2 liters while adding direct injection and hardened internal components.
This increased torque by 25% to a whopping 88 ft-lbs, with 68 horsepower also on tap. Peugeot then combined it with a 40-horsepower electric motor from their Le Mans race, the diesel-electric 908 HYbrid, for a grand total of 108 horsepower, and a total of 110 ft-lbs of torque. That’s enough power to take the 208 HYbrid FE from 0 to 60 mph in around 8 seconds, while delivering an estimated 141 mpg, better than Puegeot’s own estimates.
While not blisteringly fast, the fuel economy is incredible thanks to a 20% reduction in overall weight through the use of composite (i.e. expensive) materials. While the Peugeot 208 HYbrid FE isn’t slated for production, it’s another look at just how badass performance hybrid cars, even teeny tiny ones, can be.